3-in-1 (aka Smashed Pea & Barley) Soup

When I was growing up, my mother would make what we kids called 3-in-1 soup.   She would take a large pot, add short ribs (or some other meat), drop in the contents of bean and barley soup mix, then add water almost to the top.  The mixture was simmered for hours on end.  The meat would eventually be fished out and served.  The soup left in the pot was rather thin and oily, and none of us would touch it even with a 10-foot pole (I knew some 6-foot Poles who wouldn't go near it, either).  After it cooled a bit, the soup was transferred into a smaller pot and shoved into our tiny Frigidaire overnight.  The next day, an inch-thick layer of congealed fat was lifted off.   The now-thickened soup underneath was reheated and served, this time to eagerly awaiting family.  

We dubbed it 3-in-1 soup, most likely because 1) it was soup, 2) that begat a meat meal and 3) I don't remember the third reason but it was really very important back then.

Fast forward too many years to admit.  TheHubby, the kids and I visited my sister who escaped to lives in the LA area, and she treated us all to CPK (California Pizza Kitchen to those in the know).  She lavished great praise about a soup  that, in her words, "tasted just like 3-in-1 soup"  (so you see, I'm not the only nut job).  I ordered a bowl of Dakota Smashed Pea and Barley, and she was right!  Even 'tho it contained more split peas and none of the lima beans from my yute (see the movie My Cousin Vinny for word origin), all those fond memories came gushing back.

You will need a handblender to properly clone the CPK soup.  If you don't own a handheld blender, go out and buy one with that Chanukah gelt you were hoarding (buy two if you are kosher, trust me they are worth it).  A cheap one is around 15 bucks and will improve your life dramatically.  No more waiting for a hot mixture to cool so that you won't burn yourself while transferring soup to a blender or food processor.  No more burning yourself because you were impatient and just had to do it before the soup cooled.  No more cleaning up the counters, floor and your shoes when you spill the mixture all over the place.  No more ... well, you get the point. 

CPK lists the soup as vegetarian.  But if you surf the intertubes, you will find clone after clone using a base of chicken broth.  Ignore those versions.  The best clone out there is the one provided by Top Secret Recipes, and it sticks faithfully to a veggie version.  Disclaimer -- if you do check out the TSR site, I am NOT the Dena that posted the most recent comment there.  She is a clone as well.

CPK Dakota Smashed Peas and Barley Soup
slightly adapted from Top Secret Recipes
makes 8 servings

2 cups split peas
11 cups water, divided
2 14.5-ounce cans vegetable broth (4 cups), low sodium preferred
1 small onion
1 large clove garlic, minced (bottled okay)
2 tsp. lemon juice (slightly less half a lemon)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. dried parsley (or 1 tsp. chopped fresh)
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp.  dried thyme (or 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh)
3/4 cup barley
6 cups water
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 stalk celery, diced (1/4 cup) or 1/2 tsp. celery seed
chopped green onion (optional)

Rinse and drain the split peas, then add to a large pot along with 6 cups of water, vegetable broth, onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt, sugar, parsley, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour or until the peas are soft.

While the split peas are cooking, in a 2 quart saucepan combine the barley with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for one hour, or until the barley expands and softens.

When the split peas are soft, remove pot from heat.  Use a handheld blender to puree the soup until the mixture is smooth.  

Drain the barley mixture in a sieve or colander and add it to the split pea mixture.

Add carrots and celery.  Return pot to boil, then lower heat and simmer the soup for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, cover the soup, and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Garnish  with a little chopped green onion, if desired.  I didn't bother.  I was lazy It was too cold outside.  Serve hot.


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